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SALFORD COMMUNITY LEISURE KICKS OUT NHS CAMPAIGNERS
 

Star date: 3rd April 2013

SALFORD NHS SUPPORT GROUP BOOTED OUT OF FIT CITIES

The Salford NHS Support Group, which is trying to safeguard public health services in the city, has been banned from Fit City centres. Previously, the group had permission from staff at the centres to collect signatures for petitions and to raise awareness of changes to the NHS.

Now Salford Community Leisure, which runs the centres on behalf of Salford Council, is treating the well meaning group like Al-Qaeda. Chloe Glover reports…

Full details here…


"We're not a political group; we're campaigning to keep local NHS services free and not-for-profit, which surely is what Salford City Council wants too" Mary Eminson

A group striving to safeguard the future of the NHS in Salford has been left dismayed after being barred from campaigning at Salford's Fit City Centres.

The Salford: NHS Support Group had been using several of the sites since February, after gaining permission from staff to petition and raise awareness of the changes and threats to vital public health services.

Holding events at the centres had allowed the group to speak to members of the public, who are still largely in the dark about the widespread national overhauls, about how they could affect their communities in Salford.

It also enabled them to collect over 2000 signatures for a petition pressurising the Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), who now control the majority of the local NHS budget and contract key services, to adopt a constitution.

In its petition, which was presented to the CCG last week, the group want commitments to protect Salford's state-funded health care from privatisation, guarantee its continued quality in the future and ensure residents are consulted before the group makes changes to contracts.

The group found that it had been prevented from campaigning on any Fit City site when attempting to organise further events on the 16th March, allegedly after executives from Salford Community Leisure sent an instruction to staff. This was despite previously gaining permission from some of the leisure centre managers to talk to customers.

"We were really disappointed because we're not a political group; we're campaigning to keep local NHS services free and not-for-profit, which surely is what Salford City Council wants too" says Mary Eminson, one of the members of the group, who also uses the city's Gateway centres to campaign.

"Staff have been great with helping us set up but they told us that the Chief Executive had told them that no petitions could be signed on the premises, and we'd been refused a stall there despite keeping to centre rules and having no problems with anyone in the past" she adds "It's a shame to muzzle us as not many local people fully know what's happening.

"We're just trying to make sure that the people of Salford have the information to ensure they continue to be provided with a sufficient, high quality and free service" she explains "The Executives' decision means that we will no longer be able to get the message out to the hundreds of people we meet at these events. We've been overwhelmed by the support of public at the stalls."

Spokespeople representing Salford Fit City failed to provide a comment explaining why they had imposed the ban.

Despite the setback the group will continue to campaign on the streets and put pressure on the Salford Health and Wellbeing Board and the CCG, who have agreed to meet with campaigners later this month.

They are also encouraging people to attend the next Salford:NHS Support Group meeting which will be held on Thursday 11th April in Eccles and the first Salford Health and Wellbeing Board meeting at 2pm in the Salford Civic Centre in Swinton on April 18th.

For more details, information and to get involved with the group go to their website: www.salfordnhssupportgroup.org.uk  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalfordnhsSupportGroup.


Words by Chloe Glover

See also previous Salford Star article - NHS Has Heart Ripped Out - click here

Alice Searle wrote
at 17:18:15 on 05 April 2013
I agree that not enough people realise what this means for the future of their health and their medical care. The movement to privatise the NHS is so sneeky that many people are being conned. I would like to share with you three examples of privatising that have happened to me in the last year. The first occasion I was sent for an internal examination to a mobile unit on a carpark off Regents Road. This was being operated by Ned Care, a private South African Company, This company operates all the private hospitals in South Africa, where it charges for everything. It does not provide any medical care for the state hospitals, which is where the majority of the black and poorer community go. My second example was when I was sent to a Private Sports Company because I needed physiotherapy after an operation and finally, in the last two weeks, I was sent for an ECG to a private medical company which resides in Blackpool.[PDS Medical]. The quality of all these [I actually refused to have their examinations]was below the standard of the NHS hospitals. Of course, they all said they were working under the NHS banner, but we need to be aware that the money we pay into our National Insurance for the NHS, if going out to these private companies. Don't be deceived. Tell Your GP that you will NOT go to any private provider. Insist on NHS providers. Also we must lobby the Salford Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure that they listen to our voice. They have 'promised' to be transparent and to maintain quality. They are suppose to represent us!
 
Tahir Chakotai wrote
at 06:04:34 on 05 April 2013
What a blow for "Free Speech", and "Democracy" within Salford. I believe that The Salford Council should be accountable for their actions, and give these people a full explanation in writing. Each year fewer and fewer people fight against what seems to be a "Dictator Government", oops sorry, I meant to say the "Con-Dem Government". The Salford Council should be praising these people, as they are trying to do their part, in saving the NHS. Once again, The Salford Council punish the good, and praise the bad.
 
Bernard Brough wrote
at 05:22:33 on 04 April 2013
Who owns these buildings? The City of Salford, in other words the people of the City. We should be demanding that these people provide an explanation and allow the people of this city access to their own property.
 
Caroline wrote
at 05:20:59 on 04 April 2013
"Treating the well meaning group like Al-Qaeda"?? I think there is a slight difference between not being allowed to approach members of the public in a sports centre and being lifted by MI5!
 
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